A Dangerous Precedent

Understanding the stakes in Christian Legal Society v. Hastings

Liberty and equality are the two foundational principles of this nation: the Declaration of Independence mentions, among its "self-evident truths," that all men are created equal and that liberty is one of their inalienable rights. But are these two principles sometimes at odds with each other? Conservatives and libertarians have long cautioned that the modern-day liberal conception of equality would ultimately undermine if not destroy liberty. While these warnings may seem alarmist, a new ruling from the Supreme Court may lend them some credence and set a dangerous precedent in sacrificing freedom for equality's sake.

The case, Christian Legal Society v. Hastings, involves a small Christian group at Hastings College of Law, a part of the California State University system. In 2004, the college refused to register the CLS chapter as an official student organization because, its officers were told, its bylaws are in violation of the college's non-discrimination policy—specifically, its religion and sexual orientation clauses. Each member is required to sign a "Statement of Faith" affirming belief in a number of Christian tenets, including the Bible as "the inspired Word of God." In accordance with the organization’s national policy, the bylaws also state that "unrepentant participation in or advocacy of a sexually immoral lifestyle"—that is, any sexual conduct outside heterosexual marriage—can be a disqualification from membership.

The CLS sued, accusing the college of religious discrimination and arguing that non-religious campus groups—for instance, ones based on political affiliation—were allowed to limit their membership to people "dedicated to their organization's ideals and beliefs," while the CLS was prohibited from doing the same. Shortly afterward, college officials began to articulate a new policy: every registered student organization had extend full membership to any student who was willing to pay dues, attend meetings, and behave civilly toward other members.

Even leaving aside the principle of free association, the policy seems rather absurd on its face. Do the College Republicans have to welcome Democrats as members, and vice versa? Does a feminist student group have to admit people who openly believe that men are divinely ordained to rule over women, and to allow them to vote on issues related to the group’s activities and policies? Formally, according to Hastings College, the answer is yes. In a 5-4 ruling this week, the Supreme Court sided with the college.

In a stinging dissent, Justice Samuel Alito accused the majority of ignoring the salient facts of the case—such as the fact that the Hastings "all comers" policy seems to have been specifically tailored to exclude CLS. The policy had never been mentioned prior to the group's lawsuit, and indeed college administrators had previously acknowledged that non-religious groups were allowed to include a student's viewpoints in their membership criteria. Moreover, the CLS remains the only campus group to have been denied registration.

The majority opinion, penned by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, also downplays the policy's negative consequences for the campus CLS chapter—which has continued to function without official recognition but has been denied not only funding but the use of various campus facilities. Thus, the ruling suggests that lack of access to campus resources is sufficiently offset by the existence and scope of social networking online. As Alito put it, "This Court does not customarily brush aside a claim of unlawful discrimination with the observation that the effects of the discrimination were really not so bad."

The majority glibly dismisses some of the concerns raised by the plaintiff—for instance, that under the "all comers" policy, a student group might be intentionally taken over by people who oppose its original mission. Ginsburg even suggests that law students have too much dignity and maturity to stoop to such tactics. Considering the glee with which "progressive" students have sometimes shouted down speakers they consider racist, sexist, or homophobic, it's fair to suspect that quite a few of them would see such a "hostile takeover" as a hilariously creative way to combat bigotry.

Some strong advocates of free speech, including UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh—a noted legal scholar of a libertarian/conservative bent—have voiced approval of the Supreme Court's ruling. Volokh argues that while we are entitled to our constitutional rights such as freedom of association, we are not entitled to have these rights subsidized, and that the college was therefore on firm legal ground in withholding recognition and subsidies from CLS, whether under an "all comers" policy or under a more straightforward non-discrimination one. In his view, religious discrimination can be rightly treated as more unfair and "socially corrosive" than discrimination based on other viewpoints. Yet surely, there is a difference between excluding Jews or Muslims from, say, a campus athletic club and excluding them from a Christian group. It has long been recognized that protections against religious discrimination do not apply to those activities to which a person's faith is central.

As for the issue of public subsidies, Justice Alito stresses that the CLS was effectively barred even from activities that would not have imposed any extra costs on the college—such as setting up a table at a campus fair.

Moreover, the question of public subsidies may have far-reaching implications beyond college campuses. A city could argue that any group which benefits from municipal services such as police and fire protection or even electricity is "publicly subsidized," or that public parks should be off-limits to groups whose policies are deemed discriminatory.

Writer Wendy Kaminer, a noted civil libertarian—and a liberal feminist whose beliefs could not be further away from those of the CLS—seems on firm ground when she argues that what's really at stake here is trampling on a group whose beliefs are highly unpopular in its social environment. How would people feel if, at a public university that happened to be dominated by religious conservatives, a gay-rights group was denied recognition because it refused membership to people who openly espouse anti-gay views?

Cathy Young writes a weekly column for RealClearPolitics and is also a contributing editor at Reason magazine. She blogs at http://cathyyoung.wordpress.com/. This article originally appeared at RealClearPolitics.

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  • Lemmy||

    I'm confused. Wouldn't the libertarian position be that a state-funded institution such as a state school shouldn't be forcing its users to fund political and religious groups at all?

  • ||

    Libertarian position

    Best Option, don't fund any of these groups at all with tax or student money

    Least bad option, fund them but fund everyone regardless of beliefs

    Worst option, fund them but only fund those who tow the government lion.

  • Polynikes||

    +100 Pell Grants

  • ||

    "Tow the lion"?

    I thought the expression was "toe the line", as in to obediently fall into rank.

  • ||

    It is. "Tow the lion" is a running joke on Hit and Run. People, probably including me but I don't remember, had mistyped "toe the line" as "tow the line" and that of course caused people to go ahead and totally butcher it and start writing "tow the lion".

  • ||

    It's a brotherben-ism, iirc.

  • ||

    Thanks. I was afraid I'd been getting it wrong all these years.

    I'm too infrequent a visitor to keep track of all the in jokes. The most I can do is make note of some of the trolls to disregard.

  • JEP||

    Inside joke.

    Welcome to reason.

  • Jeffersonian||

    He'll be toading the lime soon enough.

  • ||

    For all intensive porpoises.

  • ||

    Actually the formal form of that is "for all insensitive porpoises". Flipper, despite his cute demeanor is quite insensitive.

  • Yonemoto||

    True. Bottlenose dolphins, unlike their spinner cousins are known to engage in rape, homosexual rape, fratricide, etc.

  • ||

    Me: Flipper, you said rape twice.

    Flipper: I like rape.

    [Yeh, it really surprised and upset my tree hugging, animal lover friend when we watched a show about dolphins. The brutal gang rape and killing of a young porpoise by a bunch of male bottlenose dolphins shut her up for almost a week. Unfortunately, we had to shun her after her mouthy sermon when a few of us ordered veal at local Italian Restaurant. It was good veal and well worth losing her as a "friend".]

  • STEVE SMITH||

    FLIPPER COME ON REASON CRUISE, SEE WHO RAPES THE RAPIST.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    That's ludacris.

  • anarch||

    Thath how ith theht when Thutahfet's prohibedeth.

  • IceTrey||

    The libertarian position would be that state funded schools don't exist.

  • Polynikes||

    Excellent summary, Ms. Young.

    I have a hard time grasping Mr. Volokh's reasoning. Since the students paid an activity fee, it would seem to me they would not be "subsidized" in the strict sense of the word. This would be a return of their fees, so to speak.

  • Contrarian P||

    Remember that the position of government is that your money is really theirs, so when they allow you to keep some of it they call it a subsidy. Similarly, according to colleges, when they return some of the money that they forced you to pay in to you, it's a subsidy.

  • ||

    I have a hard time grasping Mr. Volokh's reasoning.

    Same here. It appeared to me that Mr. Volokh actually went farther than the SCOTUS majority -- if I correctly understand Ginsberg's opinion, the majority held merely that the Hastings "accept all comers" policy is Constitutionally allowable, not that it is Constitutionally mandated.

    Volokh's reasoning, on the other hand, seems to suggest that ANY public college -- as a consequence of being taxpayer funded -- is obligated to have a Hastings-type policy if it chooses to make student activity fees available to "viewpoint-based" student groups.

    In other words, Volokh apparently wants to do away with student activity fees entirely -- a position he's entitled to hold, but is not what SCOTUS was actually asked to rule on.

  • ||

    Since the students paid an activity fee, it would seem to me they would not be "subsidized" in the strict sense of the word. This would be a return of their fees, so to speak.

    But unless a given student goes the Marcia Brady route and participates in every single student organization on campus, she's only going to get a "return" on a small fraction of her activity fee (i.e., that portion going to the two or three groups that she's actually involved with).

    Out of the balance of the fee, most will end up going to groups that a student merely isn't interested in one way or another, while another small fraction will subsidize groups to which he's ideologically hostile. For example, a small part of a pro-life student's total SAF may be distributed to a pro-choice student group. Of course, the pro-life student may take comfort in the fact that a pro-choice student is equally inconvenienced in being forced to (slightly) subsidize a pro-life group -- that is, the burden (in theory) will tend to be shared equally, provided that distribution of the SAF monies are viewpoint-neutral.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    The founding principle related to equality relates solely to each person having an equal vote in the political process.

    It had nothing whatsever to do with any concept of economic equality - either of result OR opportunity.

  • Fluffy||

    I wouldn't restrict it that far.

    I think it also mandates absolute equality before the law.

    These were men, after all, who were well acquainted with legal systems that granted men different economic and political rights depending on their birth.

  • ||

    If you're forced to pay an activity fee above and beyond tuition, then you have every right to expect equal privileges when the collective activity fund is re-distributed.

  • Adam||

    No, you have a right to whatever was contractually promised to you when you paid the fee. The college should be allowed to restrict the groups in whatever way it wants. If you dislike the policy, then you shouldn't attend that school.

    The issue of the school receiving government funding means that every tax paying citizen has a say in how the school is run. This is why the school should not receive government funding.

  • ||

    I think the CLS students should do exactly what Justice Ginsburg implies they are too dignified and mature to do.

  • Graham Wellington||

    I think they should either reevaluate the first world in their name or reevaluate the basis for their legalistic exclusion.

    There are 2 (two) verses in the bible concerning homosexuality in any sense. There are countless (eh, I'm sure there's a number) verses that deal with inclusion, servitude, etc. After all, isn't that what got Jesus killed?

  • stickler||

    Three verses.
    1-Leviticus 18:22
    2-Leviticus 22:19 (almost a palindrome)
    3-Judges 19:?? (indirect reference)

    Now I wonder how many members of that club eat shellfish(also an abomination as per Leviticus)? And how many have ever underpaid or overcharged for anything in their lives (called an abomination no less than 6 times)?

  • Tony||

    A university should be obligated to fund groups that discriminate based on sexuality, etc.?

    Yet restaurants shouldn't feel obligated to serve all races, you know, for freedom. And employers shouldn't feel obligated to resist discriminating if they damn well want.

    The only consistent position I see with you guys is that you're on the side of society subsidizing bigotry.

  • ||

    "A university should be obligated to fund groups that discriminate based on sexuality, etc.?"

    It is not obligated to fund anything. It can always chose not to fund any of these groups. But what it shouldn't be able to do is chose which groups if funds based on each groups' political beliefs.

    You think this is great Tony because you lack the imagination to realize that something bad could happen to your side. If homosexuals can force their way into fundementalist Christian groups, then there is nothing so say Christian groups could not join gay student associations and spend every meeting and every event trying to convert everyone to being straight. If homosexuals want to have a group that includes only other homosexuals and those who approve of their lifestyle, then they should be able to do so. At the same time, if evangelicals want to have a group that only includes people who support their set of beliefs they should be able to do so. The right to freedom of association necessarily entails to right to exclude.

  • Your Favorite Queer||

    I'm off to join the muslim group! I just love beards!

    Kiss, Kiss!
    YFQ

  • ||

    And good luck to you man.

  • Your Favorite Queer||

    Thanks! I'm hoping to "convert" a few.

    Kiss, Kiss!
    YFQ

  • Tony||

    It is not obligated to fund anything. It can always chose not to fund any of these groups. But what it shouldn't be able to do is chose which groups if funds based on each groups' political beliefs.

    You've completely contradicted yourself. Does a university have the right not to fund a group if it doesn't abide by its nondiscrimination code, or doesn't it?

    Of course the freedom of association entails the right to exclude. But it doesn't entail the right to university money.

  • ||

    "You've completely contradicted yourself. Does a university have the right not to fund a group if it doesn't abide by its nondiscrimination code, or doesn't it?"

    No Tony I haven't. You just are not reading carefully. If they don't fund any groups at all, then they haven't discriminated against anyone for their political views. They are not obligated to fund student groups. But once they chose to do that, they should not be able to give funding to some groups but not to others based on political beliefs.

  • Tony||

    So in order to be able to fund student groups at all, they should be forced to fund a student nazi group?

  • Your Favorite Queer||

    Yes.

    And whooooo-hooo do I love the sight of a man in uniform. Maybe I'll join the Nazi group too. The more the merrier I say.

    Kiss, Kiss!
    YFQ

  • Jeffersonian||

    The State of Missouri was forced by the USSC to erect a sign for the Ku Klux Klan when it adopted a stretch of highway to clean. (It subsequently named the stretch of road "Rosa Parks Highway" - heh).

    The government must be content-neutral.

  • ||

    That's awesome. Quite the elegant solution.

    I wonder if the Klan actually kept it clean after it was renamed.

  • ||

    So in order to be able to fund student groups at all, they should be forced to fund a student nazi group?

    Replace the word "nazi" with "communist" or "left-leaning socialist", Tony. Are you OK with a publicly funded university disbursing non-private funds to any of those variants of socialism? If so, then why would you posit that some * other * murderous, despicable form of socialism wouldn't be eligible?

    If the university wants to collect voluntary, declinable donations and disburse those funds to whichever favored groups they want, then fine.

  • Tony||

    prolefeed you dumb shit Nazism wasn't an economic system, and economic systems don't kill people (except laissez-faire).

    Saying Nazism is a form of socialism is like saying the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a form of democracy and republicanism.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Tony you're the dumbshit on this one. Nazism(National Socialism) was the name for Hitler's brand of Fascism(State control of the means of production). The word Nazi means something else now but it started as just an economic system with some ugly nationalist rhettoric. Collectivist economic systems not only kill people by the droves but they require mass-murder to balance shortfalls in production.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Note how he blatantly states that laissez-faire "kills people"... without proof, of course.

  • Jeffersonian||

    He didn't contradict himself. By "any" he meant "all," IOW they can defund them all and let them spend what the university would have collected as an activity fee on their own groups' activities.

  • pmains||

    Nice. Basic reading comprehension FAIL for Tony.

  • David Byrne||

    Same as it ever was [forehead slap].

  • Fluffy||

    If we're talking about a state university, no.

    In my opinion, a state university should have to conduct its operations entirely in accord with the Constitution, including all enumerated rights.

    That means it cannot discriminate among its students based on their political viewpoints, any more than the food stamp program can ban Republicans from using food stamps.

    If that makes it impossible to run state universities, close the state universities.

  • Jeffersonian||

    OTOH, should students be obligated to cough up cash to fund groups that offend their sensibilities?

    If it's a private university, I'd say the school can do what it pleases. But Hastings is a public college, and thus supposedly restricted by the provisions of the Constitution. I agree with Volokh that funding the CLS presents some speech issues, but denying them use of facilites is very, very problematic. It puts the government in the position of deciding who may say what and where. Troubling.

    You do understand the difference between public and private, no?

  • Sarah||

    The distinction, Tony, is where the money is coming from. A purely private law school or university should be free to pick and choose which groups to fund, just like the restaurant owner.

    But, if it is using tax money to make some people winners and some people losers -- based on their point of view -- that is not acceptable. Because it's government thought regulation.

    And *that's* the slippery slope we're all afraid of. Not a few ignorant red-necks, but a well-intentioned Big Brother.

  • ||

    Liberty and equality are the two foundational principles of this nation...But are these two principles sometimes at odds with each other?

    They are always at odds with each other because liberty means you have the right to exploit people who are less powerful then you are, which therefore means if you do not have equality you can't have liberty (for all).

  • ||

    They are only at odds Dan if you are an illiterate who doesn't understand that equality in this context means equality under the law not equality in every way. I will never be equal to LaBron James in material goods and opportunity. But I can always be and should be equal to him under the law. Only nitwit liberals think that we can somehow make me or anyone else equal to him in opportunity and lifestyle.

  • Chris Rock||

    "ain't a White man in this room who'd trade places with me, and I'm rich!"

  • ||

    I would. And I would trade with LaBron in a minute. Anyone who says they wouldn't is either lying or stupid.

  • ||

    I would enjoy having LeBron's bank account but I would not really want to trade places with him beyond that.

  • Jeffersonian||

    So are you lying or stupid? Both?

  • ||

    Or maybe racist? Would you want to be Dirk Nowitski? The only reason I wouldn't want to be LaBron is because being famous would suck. So Dan might have a point.

  • CatoTheElder||

    I sure wouldn't want to be Dirk if it meant that I also had his taste in women.

  • WTF||

    With all the tail he gets?

  • ||

    But you'll never be equal to LeBron James under the law, either, since money buy better legal representation and allows you to settle legal disputes rather than face prison (see Bryant, Kobe).

  • Jeffersonian||

    Or maybe Kobe went free because he wasn't guilty. I know that offends your inner marxist, but think about it.

  • ||

    Kobe went free because he paid his accusor to drop the case. He may have still not been guilty but he had the means to make the whole thing go away.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Kobe Bryant's post-settlement statement includes the passage: "I also want to make it clear that I do not question the motives of this young woman. No money has been paid to this woman."

    The judge dismissed the case because the woman refused to testify.

    Try again.

  • ||

    Uh...if the statement was "post-settlement" then how was there no money paid?

    What, did he give her an autographed jersey?

    The woman decided not to testify in exchange for a settlement. How you can deny this is beyond me.

  • Jeffersonian||

    The settlement was likely the release of that statement. Do you have some evidence that he paid her a red cent?

  • ||

    Many media outlets reported that Bryant and her accusor reached a monetary settlement. The LA Times is one example.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Citation? I can't fine one that says that.

  • JEP||

    Also, how is this a problem with the judicial system?

    I would say it's a problem with the woman not having enough character to stand up for herself...

  • ||

    "I would say it's a problem with the woman not having enough character to stand up for herself..."

    Or, even less charitably, that she succeeded in her goal of letting him get into her pants so she could get into his wallet.

  • JEP||

    I didn't want to call her a whore outright...

  • ||

    I would go ask OJ Simpson or Mike Tyson about that. LaBron is not above the law. And in any system some people will manage to get favorable treatment. If we had a true classless communist society, those who had political connections would get better treatment. That is just human nature. The only reason you bitch about our system where someone like LaBron James can get better treatment based on money more than you do about the communist system where political hacks get favorable treatment is because you like political hacks more than you like productive people.

  • ||

    I didn't say that LeBron James is above the law, but rather that if he and I were accused of the same crime, he would more than likely get a better resolution to his case because he could hire better lawyers.

    OJ Simpson (version 1.0) is another example...

  • CatoTheElder||

    Wow! Your argument conclusively demonstrates that the US legal system is imperfect.

    What depth of insight!

    Truly brilliant! The implications of your insight are truly profound!

    The scales of libertarianism have now fallen from my eyes. I now understand that there is no liberty absent a thoroughly egalitarian society. There is only one Marx, and Obama is his Prophet!

  • ||

    O.J. didn't get off because he was famous. O.J. got off because black people were (rightly) pissed about Rodney King's beaters getting off.

  • Contrarian P||

    O.J. got off mainly because the prosecution and the police department bungled the investigation and subsequent trial. It's in criminal proceedings textbooks as the definitive example of how not to do an investigation and trial. Although O.J. undoubtedly had great attorneys, even a lousy attorney would have had an excellent shot at getting an acquittal.

  • JEP||

    Yes, he would be equal under the law - because there's nothing in the LAW that differentiates between John and LaBron - the rules apply to them both.

    The system, on the other hand, can be corrupt. The judge is responsible for everything that goes on in his court - so the blame falls on his shoulders for that.

    Instead of enacting new systems(which eventually become corrupt themselves) to try to counteract the old system, we should just redesign the old system - and/or actually follow rules that are already in place instead of thinking we need new ones.

    Liberals want to go in a "fix" everything, but they can never accurately identify what's wrong, so you end up with thousands of pages of rules and system that everyone exploits. When the system is exploited, it's seen as something that needs to be fixed, hence more rules, etc, etc, etc.

  • ||

    Thanks for saying what I said in a better way. Seriously. Too bad it will go right over Dan and Tony's heads.

  • ||

    I guess he's right...liberals see a problem and want to fix it, libertarains see a problem and just deny that it's a problem.

  • JEP||

    Liberals see a problem and can't identify the cause. And let me add that no government system is going to be perfect, but some are better than others.

    Having lots of money does someone a lot of economic power. If that somehow translates into having more political power, or perks in the legal system, the solution isn't to take the guy's money away and give it someone else. The solution is to remove the mechanism that allows money to influence the judicial system.

  • ||

    But who removes that mechanism? How can money not affect the legal system?

  • JEP||

    "But who removes that mechanism?"

    In theory, we, the citizens, do through the political process. We vote for judges, etc. If we don't elect corrupt douche bags to office, then the probability of there being a corrupt judicial system is lowered.

    Because of the jury system, it's almost impossible to remove socio-economic influence. Jury members are always going to be biased to members of their economic class or background.

    When Richard Scrushy was prosecuted for defrauding investors in his company, HealthSouth, he saw it coming. He gave donations to local inner city schools, changes churches to one in the inner city, mounted a massive PR company in the downtown Bham area.

    When he was tried, the jury was selected from the Bham inner city area. It's the first time I've ever seen a white guy play the race card to get acquitted from all the charges. He had 5 or 6 of his top officers in the company take plea bargains and testify against him, and he still got off.

    The bottom line comes down to what the judge allows to go on his/her courtroom.

    Also, money can buy better lawyers, but there's no rule against a good lawyer taking less money for a good cause. So once again, your gripe isn't with people who lots of money, it's with good lawyers charging too much...

  • Jordan||

    You are seriously confused. The law still applies equally to everyone.

  • ||

    As the saying goes, "the law against sleeping under bridges applies equally to paupers and princes".

  • Jordan||

    Yep.

  • Samuel Clemmons||

    This is why we shouldn't argue with an idiot troll John. Observers may be confused.

  • JEP||

    By your definitions, if you have equality, you can have no liberty because everyone has equal power. You just made liberty and equality mutually exclusive.

    I'm going to use my "liberty" to intellectual exploit you and call you a dumb shit.

    Liberty is your ability to do whatever you want to the extent that you do not encroach on the liberty of another.

  • ||

    But do you really think that the guy who is born with millions of dollars in the bank and the wage slave at McDonalds both have liberty?

    One guy can do whatever he wants with his time...the other has to work all day just to survive.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Yes, they do.

  • ||

    Well, a Jeffersonian is a slave owner who thinks all mean are equal so what do you know anyway?

  • Jeffersonian||

    If you can't refute me, just say so Danny.

  • Tony||

    Liberty from government is the only kind that exists here.

  • ||

    Right. I've said before that if the Federal Government just changed it's name to "United States, Inc." then nobody here would have anything to complain about.

  • Jeffersonian||

    I certainly wouldn't, so long as they act like a corporation and bargain for my money instead of taking it at gunpoint.

  • ||

    A corporation will take your money at gunpoint if you use their services...just like government.

  • Jordan||

    What a dissembling, dishonest fuckwit you are.

  • ||

    No, I just point out that power is power, regardless of whether you want to call it "government" or a "corporation".

    It's a point you libertarians simply cannot grasp: somebody is going to be in charge. You'd better hope its a government that you have some say in rather than some other group in which you do not.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Huh??? Are you really this stupid, Dan?

    Yes, if I buy a roast chicken from Boston Market, they will want payment. OTOH, I'm charged a significant sum for products and services I never use by government. Do you see a difference here?

  • ||

    You are charged a fee by the government for living under its jurisdiction just like you pay dues to be a member of a club.

  • Jeffersonian||

    I'm not forced to join any club or consume any corporation's product. Bill Gates can't force me to pay him so much as a penny if I choose not to deal with him. Not a single company charges me a dime for simply existing.

  • Tony||

    You're not forced to live here either.

  • Jordan||

    Yeah, all those stupid slaves. Why didn't they just move away from the U.S.?

  • JEP||

    That's a bullshit argument that simply shows that you support a tyranny of the majority.

    Not to mention it violates free speech. We have every right to stand up and say "We're doing this wrong."

    To say otherwise is close minded, ignorant, and collectivist.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Is there somewhere you know of that I'm not charged a fee I have not agreed to?

    Talk about sleeping under bridges....Jesus.

  • ||

    There are probably tiny pacific islands out there with no people and thus no taxes...use your liberty to escape to one if civilization has got you down.

  • Jordan||

    You hear that, black people? Jim Crow laws got you down? Dan T says "Get the fuck out!"

  • Jeffersonian||

    America: Pay up or leave it!!

  • Tony||

    Um, it's more like "America: obey laws or go to jail, and if you don't want to you are free to go elsewhere." There's nothing illegitimate about laws that a democratic society establishes. As long as you are free to renounce your citizenship you are not compelled to participate. But you're not entitled to your own private country either, as there is a finite amount of land on the earth. For my money having civilization isn't so bad.

  • Jordan||

    Shorter Tony: If the majority wants slavery, the majority gets!

  • Tony||

    Shorter Tony: If the majority wants slavery, the majority gets!

    The legitimate democratic process has abolished slavery and put it beyond the whims of majorities. The constitution is part of that process, you know.

  • JEP||

    The democratic process was one of the reason why slavery remained an institution in this country for so long, you dipshit.

    It a fucking civil war to end slavery.

  • Tony||

    JEP,

    Yeah so what's your point?

  • Contrarian P||

    It has? Seems to me that slavery just takes different forms now.

  • ||

    "There's nothing illegitimate about laws that a democratic society establishes."

    So you don't have a problem with the laws that required "separate but equal" facilities for coloured folks? Or the laws that still prevent homosexuals from openly serving in the military?

    Nothing illegitimate about those, despite their being established in a society that's clearly democratic.

    Fuck-wit.

  • Tony||

    So you don't have a problem with the laws that required "separate but equal" facilities for coloured folks? Or the laws that still prevent homosexuals from openly serving in the military?

    Nothing illegitimate about those, despite their being established in a society that's clearly democratic.

    Unjust, wrong, should be repealed, but not illegitimate. They did come about via the established democratic process, no?

  • JEP||

    So you're not a fan of, to paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr., "some laws are meant to be disobeyed...?"

    Just because it's a law, doesn't mean that it's moral or right...and therefore that law should be ignored by anyone who has any integrity.

  • Tony||

    JEP,

    Sure, civil disobedience has a noble tradition. Better men than us have gone to jail for disobeying laws that were unjust, but I still think they should have gone to jail. Their actions should then lead to justice via the same democratic process. That's how the rule of law works.

  • ||

    "Unjust, wrong, should be repealed, but not illegitimate."

    Nice semantics there.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Yet he can't explain why it's wrong. Everything seems to be reduced to one's personal preferences, at best.

  • JBA||

    All based on the presumption that the government owns the entire land of the United States, in the same way that people own the property/labor they sell to consumers.

  • You're a moron||

    That's an interesting idea. I'll just leave the U.S. I'm sure the government won't make me pay a bunch of fees if I want to renounce my citizenship. I'm certain they won't continue to tax me after I leave their jurisidiction, and am absolutely not taking advantage of any governemnt services.

    Oh wait... That's right they will make me pay to leave the country, and they will continue to tax me. Not much of a choice. But hey, this is your wet dream, social contract. Once you're in, you can never leave. FOR THE GLORY OF THE COLLECTIVE. PRAISE BE TO OUR LORD THE STATE!!!

  • mad libertarian guy||

    What the fuck?

  • DJ Drugs||

    Yeah, in regards to the "love it or leave it" argument; bootstrapping fallacy much?

    That one always throws the "legitimate democratic process" state worshipers for a loop.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Inversely, shitloads of government = total liberty for everyone?

    Sorry, Tony, that won't work. Nice try, though.

  • JEP||

    The issue is that the guy at McDonald's is at a disadvantage (I agree) and you're asking is he as free as the guy with lot's of money...

    Equality under the law was a reaction to the class system, where a baron, duke, what-have-you had a different set of rights than a commoner(officially, under the law of the country).

    When you start officially (in the legal system) classifying people by how much money they make, and treating those classes differently under the law, then you've created another class system.

    In the world where money is taken from the guy with millions and given to the guy flipping burgers, that's a legally mandated redistribution of wealth based on a class system. The only difference between such a redistribution system and a society based on fiefdoms is that in the redistribution system, those with less money are treated more favorably under the law while in the fief system, those with more money are treated more favorably.

    What nature gives to us(what socio-economic system we happen to be born into) isn't something that needs "correcting" by the government.

  • The Gobbler||

    "The issue is that the guy at McDonald's is at a disadvantage (I agree) and you're asking is he as free as the guy with lot's of money..."

    The poor man is better off than the rich man in that, the rich man can't comfort himself with the notion that all of his troubles would vanish if only he had a ton of money.

  • Tony||

    Those with less money are never treated more favorably under the law. The best we can do is mitigate some of the natural inequalities that come with wealth disparity.

    The huge flaw in this "class warfare" outlook is that it treats a rich person and a poor person as equally equal, and thus any transfer downward is considered an oppression on the rich and a favor to the poor. You ignore the reality that the fact of being poor is itself a restriction on liberty compared to being rich. If it's government's job to ensure equal protection of the laws, then some amount of correction for this is necessary. The obvious example I can think of is the public defender system. Justice absent strong "corrections" will always favor the rich, so government should indeed work to correct the inequalities of nature when they lead to different treatment under the law.

    I would go further still, of course, and include access to basic needs and services as among the rights everyone should enjoy. There is no such thing as a theoretical right, either you have it or you don't.

  • The Gobbler||

    "You ignore the reality that the fact of being poor is itself a restriction on liberty compared to being rich. "

    You are so fucking stupid. There is no one more free than the hobo.

  • ||

    >>You are so fucking stupid. There is no one >>more free than the hobo.

    A lot of whom are libertarians or voluntaryists, btw.

  • JEP||

    No need to go further, Tony, I'm fully aware of your thievery manifesto that you sell under the guise of equality.

    "Those with less money are never treated more favorably under the law. "

    If there are two people(you know nothing else about them), and the government gives money to one and takes money from the other, and you later find out that the person who received money was poorer than the person who didn't, how is that not treating the poorer person more favorably?

    I agree that it sucks if a person gets born in the ghetto to a crack addict versus being born to Bill Gates. If this could be corrected without violating anyone's rights, then I'd be all for it.

    Unfortunately, there's a law of conversation of wealth. If you want to raise up one portion of the portion of the population, you have to bring down another portion. Therefore, the government is treating one portion of the population more favorably than another - therefore, you're just introducing more inequality into the system. We can't do shit about what situation we're born into, but we decide not to favor one group of people over another.

  • Tony||

    JEP,

    I think you're still missing the fundamental point. If 1% has all the money and 99% are poor, you're arguing that taxing the 1% and transferring it to the 99% (so that they can, say, buy food) is a net decrease in liberty? Why does it only go one way?

    Government may be "favoring" one group but that's only to correct for the status quo vastly favoring the other.

    As Thomas Jefferson put it, taxes should be apportioned to what can be annually spared. You seem to think that taking $10 from a millionaire is exactly as much an imposition as taking $10 from a guy with only $50 to his name. It's not. Freedom isn't arithmetic. The millionaire has suffered only the loss of pocket change. The Other guy has lost 20% of his net worth, which was earmarked for basic survival needs. Get it?

  • JEP||

    I understand the argument. My gripe isn't with tax brackets.

    My gripe is welfare programs. When I pay taxes, it's with the understanding(in theory) that that money is going to be put into a service that I receive a benefit from - ie, national defense, roads, infrastructure, etc.

    Instead, it's being given to someone else. I'd be perfectly happy giving some of my money to someone less fortunate, through charitable donations and the like. But that decision should be mine, not the government's.

    The world is unfair. It's not the government's job to try to compensate for that, but only to treat everyone equally.

  • Tony||

    JEP,

    I don't see much of a difference between national defense and welfare. It's all a transfer of wealth. Some poor people get all that national defense essentially for free.

    You do benefit from welfare, however. Not having an impoverished underclass reduces crime and promotes economic growth. That's apart from any moral argument (your claim to your stuff is premised on a moral argument).

  • Contrarian P||

    We don't have an impoverished underclass? Really?

  • Yonemoto||

    It sounds like Thomas Jefferson is suggesting that we subtract our living expenses from our income, and exercise a flat tax on what's left, much like how businesses get to deduct business expenses.

    Of course implementing such a system would be "too difficult". Which is why we have the "standard deduction".

  • Pip||

    "Government may be "favoring" one group but that's only to correct for the status quo vastly favoring the other."

    I'll give you $100 if you can show me where the word "correct" in in the US Constitution.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    If 1% has all the money and 99% are poor is horseshit, Tony. And you damned well know it isn't true.

  • Contrarian P||

    If 1% of the United States actually had all the money and 99% couldn't buy food, your argument might have some validity. But that clearly isn't remotely the case. Actually that sounds a lot more like countries which had command economies.

    Your idea that government can fix inequality has no basis in fact and there is no evidence that it has ever worked anywhere except to make most of the populace equally impoverished.

    Nobody here is arguing that $10 from a millionaire is the same as that amount from a poor man. But taking $350,000 from the millionaire and then giving a bunch of it to the guy with $50 is what's being discussed here.

  • ||

    "Those with less money are never treated more favorably under the law."

    I guess you don't consider the tax code to be part of the law. Because that whole 'progressive income tax' notion, tends to favour the poor by design.

    Liar.

  • Tony||

    If by favoring the poor you mean leaving them poor, and leaving the rich rich, then okay. But no I'm not really into the whole "the poor are the oppressors of the rich" rhetoric, which of course was invented by the rich in the service of making themselves richer.

  • JEP||

    It's not the government's job to raise the poor out of poverty. That obstacle is for them to overcome.

    If my argument is "rhetoric", please point out the fallacies in it instead of just dismissing it.

  • Fluffy||

    Those with less money are never treated more favorably under the law.

    That is absolutely not true.

    The law that is applied to the man who buys orange juice is much, much different from the law that is applied to the man who buys labor.

    This has absolutely nothing to do with any legitimate difference in kind between the two purchases, and is solely the result of the fact that many poor men make the first type of purchase, and only a few rich men make the latter type of purchase, and the many poor men have voted away the rights of the few rich men.

  • ||

    The huge flaw in this "class warfare" outlook is that it treats a rich person and a poor person as equally equal, and thus any transfer downward is considered an oppression on the rich and a favor to the poor.

    And we all know that Tony considers some animals more equal than others.

  • Tony||

    IOW... rich people suck, and ought to have every dime of their wealth confiscated... unless they're rich liberals.

  • ||

    But do you really think that the guy who is born with millions of dollars in the bank and the wage slave at McDonalds both have liberty?

    One guy can do whatever he wants with his time...the other has to work all day just to survive.

    Someone working at McDonalds is free. They can quit their job there, or reduce their hours, or work somewhere else. They might wind up with a less enjoyable lifestyle, but they won't die from it. They are free to work or not work, to work as much or as little as they want, and to work somewhere else if they don't like it at McDonalds.

    And they are free to change their attitude and find some pride and satisfaction in doing a better job at McDonalds. Not everyone who works there is surly and hates their job.

    Just because you don't like your current job doesn't mean you're a slave, if you're free to quit and try something else, or free to quit being a whiny little bitch and learn to take some satisfaction from doing a menial job well.

  • Graham Wellington||

    Case in point: a friend of mine didn't like McDonalds, so he quit. Just didn't work for a while; he had a savings built up (I know! From McDonalds!)

    Then he did some freelance design, odd jobs, etc... and traveled the country. Was it lavish? Absolutely not, but he's been coast to coast and arguably has exercised more freedom than most of my coworkers.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Without a dictatorship you can't have equality of outcomes for all. Equality of outcomes can only come by force.

    In a dictatorship, the politically connected gain a monopoly on liberty. Lacking profit motive and property rights, the working class must be forced to work and to accept, as payment, whatever is left after the members of the political class reward themselves for their favors to society. No exploitation here.

  • ||

    Good point, FM. Dan T, Tony, et als stubbornly refuse to, or are incapable of, understanding the difference between "opportunity" and "outcome".

    This leads to stupid statements like "libertarains see a problem and just deny that it's a problem". For Liberals, every negative situation is a "problem" and one that can and must be fixed by state intervention (theft, coercion and force). Libertarians realize that some problems are insoluble and that attempts to remedy them only shift and magnify the problem.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Without a dictatorship you can't have equality of outcomes for all. Equality of outcomes can only come by force.

    And, as we can see with "liberals" falling all over themselves to praise the likes of Hugo Chavez and the Castro brothers, they're completely at ease with that.

  • Bucking RCz Law||

    "I will never be equal to LaBron James in material goods and opportunity."

    Let's hope you're not equal in spelling or LeBron would not have even gotten the proverbial 200 points on his SATs for spelling his name correctly if he ever bothered taking them.

  • Bucking RCz Law||

    hfs, sure enough, i mock RCz law and end up posting a new comment instead of replying to John here

  • ||

    If you are going to make a dumb ass comment about spelling, you should at least wait until I actually you know misspell a word.

  • ||

    Uh, John, you've misspelled LeBron, seen it spelled correctly, and then misspelled it again.

    LeBron is not a typical name, but he is one of the most famous men in America...

  • ||

    Well Dan, telling us that it is LeBron rather than LaBron is about the most productive thing you have ever contributed to the conversation. It is not much. But at least it is something.

  • ||

    This is really a non-issue from my POV. Most universities demand that any organization funded by the university must allow any student to join (which makes sense, since every student is paying the activities fees and such that the organizations are funded from). That means the gender studies club isn't allowed to exclude male chauvinists from joining, and yes it means that Christian clubs are not allowed to exclude homosexuals.

    No one is "forcing" this group to accept homosexuals. If they don't want to take all comers, they can find another source of funding.

  • Jeffersonian||

    I tend to agree, but the troubling aspect is the exclusion of the group from using resources that impose no financial obligation on the school. As Young points out, does that mean they can be barred from using sidewalks and streets?

  • JEP||

    I think that's the meat and potatoes: Is this ruling going to now be applied to individuals instead of just groups.

  • ||

    How could it be applied to individuals? The decision is about groups' membership decisions, which make no sense when applied to individuals. You don't "join" an individual.

  • JEP||

    No, but groups are made of individuals.

    I'm talking about access to utilities, not gaining membership.

    If you deny access to utilities to a group because they espouse a certain moral, political doctrine, then what's to stop you from deny access to utilities to an individual because he/she espouses that same moral political doctrine?

  • ||

    This isn't about espousing a doctrine, it's about membership restrictions. Which make no sense in the context of an individual.

    And there's a difference in kind, not degree, between denying a group a table at the campus fair and cutting off electricity to a private residence occupied by the group.

  • Fluffy||

    The association right is a right that belongs to individuals. They exercise that right by joining groups. There is no group right under discussion here.

    Basically you're saying that a state university can treat students differently if they exercise their right to associate into political groups. And that's bunk.

    Again, if there is a conflict between the state university's 14th amendment requirement to grant equal access to all students [and they therefore can't allow student groups to discriminate] and the state university's 1st amendment requirement to allow students to freely associate, then the simple solution is to close the state university.

    That's what people just refuse to accept: that there are types of activities [and education is probably one] that simply cannot be conducted in accordance with the Constitution. Instead of accepting that, and realizing that this means the activity itself must stop, we get all these tortured attempts at squaring circles, none of which can work, and all of which keep going just because the justices agree among themselves to keep one eye closed and pretend it all makes sense.

  • JEP||

    I wasn't really making much of an argument, just curiously wondering what implications there were for individuals...

  • ||

    There is no group right under discussion here.

    Of course there is. If one individual in this group wants to admit homosexuals into the group, tough shit -- the group doesn't allow it. Also, each individual doesn't get a share of the group's funding to use as they please, it all has to be spent on group activities.

  • ||

    That's just a scare tactic. A university is presumed to have the right to police who can set up tables at campus fairs.

    A city does not have authority to say who can and can't walk on sidewalks, and it would require a much larger constitutional reversal to give them that authority.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    The People bought and paid for those spaces, Tulpa, and the People should not be discriminated against when the People wish to use the spaces they bought and paid for.

  • ||

    This is obviously supposed to be satire, but I'm not clear what the position you're trying to advance by the satire is. Are you claiming that Christian groups should have the right to prohibit homosexuals from walking on the sidewalk?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    No. I paid taxes to fund those spaces where the Organization Fair will be held. So the the CLS-ers. They have a right to use that space just as much as anybody.

  • ||

    Ah, so someone who's not even part of the college community can set up a table at the campus fair.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Now you see why I am opposed to public funding of universities.

    In a serious note, if you are going to make up this thing called a "college community", then all the members of the community should have equal access to the community's resources. As stated below, you cannot deny someone access to the public park because they voted for the Mayor's Rival that year.

  • ||

    Was the university prohibiting the members of the CLS from visiting the campus fair?

  • ||

    And since once a group is funded by the college, it becomes part of the community's resources, equal access demands that the group allow any student to join.

  • Fluffy||

    Right, the 14th amendment says the university has to do that.

    But the 1st amendment says they can't.

    Logic fail = blow up the state university like Landrew the computer.

  • ||

    Actually no -- funding organizations by the activities fees is designed to avoid that conundrum.

  • The Gobbler||

    "A city does not have authority to say who can and can't walk on sidewalks, and it would require a much larger constitutional reversal to give them that authority."

    Yes it does. They're called curfew laws. If it's 1:00 am and you're 15-years-old and unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian the city can arrest you for being out on the sidewalk.

    The city also has the authority to tell registered sex offenders that they can’t be on a sidewalk that’s within 1,000 feet of a school or playground.

    Do you ever think shit through before posting or do you just fucking flow?

  • ||

    Those laws aren't particular to the sidewalk. Both would apply even on private property. So neither constitutes the city saying who can and can't walk on the sidewalk.

  • The Gobbler||

    Ever hear of anti-loitering laws?

  • ||

    Loiterers aren't walking. Keep trying.

  • The Gobbler||

    Have a cunty day:

    http://www.tequesta.org/images/pages/N474//Sidewalk Closed.JPG

  • The Gobbler||

  • The Gobbler||

    And even absent my signs, do you really think someone could prevent a cop from arresting them for loitering by saying,"Look. A am taking a step to the left. And now a step to the right. And another to the right. And now two steps to the left..."

  • chiasm||

    And vice-versa.

  • chiasm||

    That was meant to reply to Tulpa|7.2.10 @ 1:38PM

  • Fluffy||

    A university is presumed to have the right to police who can set up tables at campus fairs.

    Only because we ignore the Constitution.

  • libertarian pedant||

    the university has no rights, it's not a person.

  • ||

    Quit copying and pasting from the Citizens United dissent.

  • Kagan||

    "A university is presumed to have the right to police who can set up tables at campus fairs."

    God damn military recruiters.

  • Jeffersonian||

    That's just a scare tactic. A university is presumed to have the right to police who can set up tables at campus fairs.

    That's just another word for squelching speech. If it's a student group, it should be allowed to set up a table.

  • Contrarian P||

    From the article:

    "The policy had never been mentioned prior to the group's lawsuit, and indeed college administrators had previously acknowledged that non-religious groups were allowed to include a student's viewpoints in their membership criteria."

    Seems that the university did not actively enforce a requirement that all students were to be allowed to join campus groups. They just suddenly started doing so for this particular group.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Why do you guys insist on feeding Dan? Just. Stop.

    Anyway, thought experiment: what if I start the Kollege Klux Klan? Should I be able to get money then?

    I am actually inclined toward a "yes", because if there are to be public universities, I want my dollar to go toward fostering the most open environment possible, even to the point of equally funding repugnant groups.

    Of course, the SLD* is that I am against public universities.

    * - Standard Libertarian Disclaimer.

    Thought experiment two, for Tony: should racists be prohibited from driving on the roads?

  • ||

    Anyway, thought experiment: what if I start the Kollege Klux Klan? Should I be able to get money then?

    Sure, as long as you allow blacks, Jews, and Catholics to join.

    This is one of those cases where Ms Young's feeble attempt at reductio ad absurdum falls flat on its face. If you try to start a club with university funding which irritates most of the student body, it's going to get hijacked.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    So what would you say about making welfare benefits contingent on campaigning for Democrats? After all, you don't have to take welfare...

  • ||

    If they were forced to speak on behalf of the Democrats, that would be unconstitutional as it is coerced speech. If they were just working behind the scenes, organizing phone lists or whatever, then that would constitute government interference in an election, which goes against basic democratic principles.

    I don't think it would be unconstitutional though, just like I don't think that awful "matching funds" law in AZ is unconstitutional. It should be, but it isn't.

  • ||

    If they were forced to speak on behalf of the Democrats, that would be unconstitutional as it is coerced speech. If they were just working behind the scenes, organizing phone lists or whatever, then that would constitute government interference in an election, which goes against basic democratic principles.

    I don't think it would be unconstitutional though, just like I don't think that awful "matching funds" law in AZ is unconstitutional. It should be, but it isn't.

  • Fluffy||

    The first amendment equally protects the right to speak and the right to associate.

    Neither is higher than the other.

    If you agree that state universities have to respect the speech rights of students, they'd have to respect their associational rights too.

  • ||

    Freedom of association /= funding of association

  • Fluffy||

    The state is advancing a benefit, and picking and choosing who gets that benefit based on the exercise of a first amendment right.

    If the state was banning kids from the library because they joined the Democrat party and the administrar heard about it, everyone would agree that was beyond the state's power.

  • ||

    By that logic, allowing this group to receive state funding, and allowing it to then discriminate among those who want to join, violates the potential joiners' freedom of association.

  • Fluffy||

    Come on, that's silly.

    That's like saying that the fact that I won't marry you violates your right to marry.

  • ||

    the right to free association dissapeared due to the violence against women act. against a "victim's will" and with no trial by jury , but merely a judge's determination, an order for protection can issue that prevents the respondent from contact with the victim, under pentalty of arrest/prosecution. the victim has no say. if a judge can tell a person that they can't associate with another person, there IS no right of free association. note that there does not even have to be an ajudication of guilt of a domestic violence crime. it's a civi proceeding , based on preponderance of the evidence, and essentially solely a judge's discretion.

  • ||

    I think there is a difference between discriminating on appearance and discriminating along points of view. Okay that the university can say you have to let all races and creeds join. That is the law after all. But, the law does not prohibit discrimination among view points.

    Letting blacks, Catholics and Jews into your KKK doesn't destroy the organization as long as said black Catholics and Jews buy into the tenants of the organization. If they don't, they they are preventing you from having an organization.

    That is what is happening with the Christian groups. They have a group that is designed to promote X view point. If people can join it to promote an opposite view point and specifically to undermine your view point, then you don't have much of an organization left.

    Take the culture war stuff out of it and think of it this way. If you and I formed a college libertarian group and Dan T and Tony showed up and joined with the specific purpose of going to every meeting telling us how wrong libertarianism is, wouldn't we be within our rights to kick them out? And if we are, why isn't the local GLAD chapter within its rights to kick out an evangelical who spends every meeting telling everyone how they or burning in hell? Why isn't the local Students for Christ within their rights to kick out the gay atheist who shows up at every meeting calling them ignorant hillbillies?

  • Tony||

    Okay but the "political viewpoint" in question entails excluding homosexuals from the group. I don't think anyone's telling them what to believe, they're just telling them they can't exclude on the basis of sexuality.

  • ||

    Excluding based on sexuality is a political view point.

  • ||

    No, it's an overt act. Very different thing.

  • ||

    No it is not. Saying that everyone in my organization must believe that homosexuality is a sin and a crime against nature is no different than saying everyone in my organization must think the Pittsburgh Steelers are the greatest football team ever or that the Democratic Party should win every election. No different.

  • Tony||

    No, it's an action that's prohibited by university inclusion standards.

    You're free to believe in whatever nazi bullshit you want, you just can't act on exterminating the jews.

  • ||

    Tony that is called question begging. Saying it is against the rules doesn't mean those rules are correct. That is the whole question.

  • Tony||

    So you object to the 'all comers' rule but not necessarily to the idea of having rules all groups that get university funding should follow? Or what?

  • ||

    They have a group that is designed to promote X view point. If people can join it to promote an opposite view point and specifically to undermine your view point, then you don't have much of an organization left.

    Boo fucking hoo. If the students funding your organization are that pissed off by it, then it shouldn't exist. There are plenty of churches willing to fund Christian groups, but these people want the special access that comes with being a university sanctioned group.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    The students are not funding the organization. The taxpayers are. Any university that receives a majority of its funding by the taxpayers is public and therefore has to play by nondiscrimination rules, and if you can get welfare even though you're black/gay/a Klansmen/honky trash/Republican/Communist, then a student group, no matter what the position, is just as entitled.

  • ||

    Most universities have an activities fee or something like that which is used to fund student organizations. This is how they avoid exactly the argument you put forth, that taxpayers can pick and choose which student organizations can exist.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Yes, and the Social Security Trust Fund is a real thing. Seriously, you're going to rely on accounting tricks to bolster your argument?

  • ||

    The problem with the SSTF is that it doesn't have real money in it. Student activity funds actually do have money in them, so that's a poor analogy to make.

    And without that so-called "accounting trick", funding this group would violate the establishment clause. So be careful what you argue.

  • Contrarian P||

    I don't think the activities fund paid for the buildings where the activities are held on campus, so in that case the money in question did come from the taxpayers. So even if the university denied the organization money, it couldn't deny them access to facilities.

  • JEP||

    I enjoy laying out my political logic in written form from time to time.

    Chad, Tony, and Dan simply act as a wall (they're about as dumb as one) that I throw them against.

    Unfortunately, I usually get really depressed because I realize that they represent that large majority of people in this country and are incapable of judging the value of an argument independently of their political dogma.

  • Hooha||

    What's really sad and scary is that here, they have nearly unlimited access to arguments irrefutable, given their roots in reason, individual freedom and responsibility, alignment with basic human nature, etc. etc.

    Furthermore, all day long they hurl their biased, broken political views at these forums, and one after the next, watch as they are systematically dismantled by any number of means, ranging from simple logic, to historical introspective, to the citation of current events.

    Yet despite the repeated and consistant failures of their attempts to penetrate rational thought with their idealist rhetoric, they remain undeterred. They forge on in the face of their previous failures with unwavering determination that would make a religious zealot look like an open-minded academic.

    I often wonder; do they learn? Do they know better than they say, and simply continue to troll 'for teh lulz'? Or are they truly so lost? Are individuals actually capable of blinding themselves to obvious, carefully and simply laid out facts like this?

    If it is the latter, I fear it is an ominous sign for mankind.

  • Tony||

    To #1: yes, provided you follow the guidelines, which incidentally would kind of render the point of such a group moot.

    To #2: No, wtf?

  • ||

    The majority glibly dismisses some of the concerns raised by the plaintiff—for instance, that under the "all comers" policy, a student group might be intentionally taken over by people who oppose its original mission.

    That's a risk you take when you seek funding and sanction from a religiously-neutral university. If they are afraid of this, I'm sure there are several churches in the town that will be willing to host them.

    But like many religious organizations, they don't want just the freedom to express their point of view -- they want an audience that is forced to pay attention to them. That's what the campus fair table fooferah is about.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Yes...all that "force" that is involved at a Campus Organization Fair.

  • ||

    Yet surely, there is a difference between excluding Jews or Muslims from, say, a campus athletic club and excluding them from a Christian group. It has long been recognized that protections against religious discrimination do not apply to those activities to which a person's faith is central.

    It's also long been recognized that "activities to which a person's faith is central" are not supposed to be subsidized by the state!

  • The Angry Optimist||

    It is also long-recognized that the State has no business discriminating in who gets what benefits based on the State's political POV.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Oh yeah, and don't feed Tony today either, please. I get precious little time off and I hate wasting it on someone who deliberately misses the point even though it's been Barney-ed out for him about 1,000-fucking-times.

  • ||

    The most simple solution is for the State to not financially subsidize any clubs, political, religious or otherwise on any campus. Then they can be as inclusive or exclusive as they like.

  • ||

    You are correct. Of course, this group didn't take that route, they ran crying to the courts.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    No, the State didn't take that route. The State cannot nor should not discriminate who gets Uncle Sugar's Tit-Milk based on political, social or religious POVs.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Well, the students that make up that organization still have to fork over their activity fees, no?

  • Yonemoto||

    at Hastings College of Law, a part of the California State University system

    Hastings is actually part of the University of California system.

  • Fluffy||

    I didn't understand Tulpa's position in this thread, but I understand it better now.

    I look at the debate here and I say, "Close the public universities and we won't have this problem."

    He seems to be looking at it and saying, "Religious people should get out of the public universities and go to private religious universities, and then they don't have to worry about this problem any more."

    So we're both trying to undermine the public universities. I just think he doesn't see that directly confronting the irreconcilable conflict between the two rights does that better than running away from it.

  • ||

    You still don't understand my position.

    These people could just as easily have their group meet and be funded by a local church, while still attending the public university.

    Just like a GLBT group that wants to exclude homophobes can find some private organization nearby (probably a more liberal church, even!) to house and fund them, while the individuals in the group continue attending the public university.

  • ||

    Or -- if we want to get really radical -- they can raise money themselves to support the group.

  • ||

    I think you need to take the religions angle out of it. This is not about religion. This is about the ability of small fringe groups to be treated the same way large popular groups are.

    Imagine this example. Suppose I go to Enormous State University. And ESU is a huge football school. Everyone loves ESU football. Except that I and about twenty other people on campus don't. We love Enormous U football. And EU is ESU's arch rival. We are not popular on campus. So we form a club and rent out the back room of a bar every Saturday in the fall and watch EU football. If I can't exclude ESU fans, they will be able to show up and root against EU and pretty much destroy my organization. What is important here is that since I am a minority, I have no chance to do the same thing to them. If my 20 guys showed up at an ESU booster club meeting, we would be shouted down and have no effect on the organization. But they, because I am so small, can destroy me.

    That is what this is about. The big organizations are not effected by this rule. If I am a big organization that enjoys the support of the staff and faculty, I can let all of the dissenting view points in I want and my organization will go on. But if I am a small organization that is unpopular and at odds with the big popular organizations, if I can't keep people out of my organization who don't agree with me, I have an organization that exists at the pleasure of the bigger organizations. I don't think that is right. For that reason, all student organizations should be treated the same regardless of viewpoint.

  • ||

    Why should ESU be funding an EU booster club in the first place?

    If you're going to have a tiny exclusive group, then you should have no trouble coming up with the funding to support it.

  • ||

    Sure I could. But if you can get funding to have an ESU booster club, why can't I get funding to support my team? Once it starts handing out money, the government should not be able to hand it out with impunity. It ought to be held to some standards of fairness.

    In most universities in this country, the faculty and staff is very leftwing. Why should they support some right wing organization? In fact, why should you as a libertarian have access to any student organization? Fuck you. If you don't want to sign an oath of loyalty to a set of left wing principles, we are not going to let you join any university student club or activity.

    By your logic, why couldn't they do that. Can't you right wingers just go fund your own damned organizations?

  • ||

    John, I think you forgot which side you're on. The "no libertarians allowed" example you offer is an example of what I'm trying to combat with my position.

    If there's a Global Warming Club funded by the student activities fee, then a "denier" should be allowed to join so long as he or she pays dues, comes to meetings, and behaves civilly (and others in the group must behave civilly toward him or her). The exclusivity that CLS is suing for would lead to exactly the situation that elicited the F bomb from you.

  • ||

    Not if I can form my own global warming denial club to compete with their club. I have no problem with them saying "hey if you want to be in our club, you have to believe X". That is the nature of freedom of association.

  • The Gobbler||

    So your position is:

    Yes, the strong gets more
    While the weak ones fade
    Empty pockets don't ever make the grade
    Mama may have, Papa may have
    But God bless the child
    that's got his own
    That's got his own

  • CatoTheElder||

    Doesn't Hastings College itself actively discriminate against certain disadvantaged minorities?

    I would argue that they do, and that they do so with the explicit intention of exclusion. For example, how many profoundly retarded students were admitted last year? I'd wager the number is precisely zero.

    Hastings College discriminates against the retarded because it is necessary for the objectives of a law school. CLS wishes to discriminates against heathen because it is necessary for the objectives of a Christian organization.

    As an agency of the State, Hastings College also discriminates against CLS because CLS discriminates against heathen. Once could reasonably conclude that Hastings College aligns itself -- and the Supreme Court aligns itself -- with heathen in opposition to Christians. It is not a neutral decision. When viewed in this way, it cannot be a neutral decision. Of course, there are other ways to view the decision.

  • ||

    The difference is, Hastings College is not trying to shake down CLS for funding.

  • Contrarian P||

    Actually they are shaking them down: the students making up the organization are required to fork over the student activity fee every semester as a condition of attendance.

  • Peter Jensen||

    Hasting has no discrimination policies towards retards. It has mandatory minimal academic performance requirements. (It implicitly therefore exclude smart lazy bums who can't meet those requirements.)

  • HeadTater||

    Up next on the list of targets for the "equality" mongers: The Knights of Columbus

    Why can't, say a misanthropic atheist woman who hate America, join a charitable and patriotic Catholic men's organization? As long as she pays dues and does not actively undermine the organization, what could go wrong. Does it occur to these statists that the very presence of such a person could undermine the organization?

  • ||

    Let me know when the K of C gets state funding.

  • Peter Jensen||

    I find it hilarious for a discriminating group such as the CLS to expect funding arguing that denying it is discrimination.

  • ||

    I have to say that I don't necessarily mind their not being funded. I do think they have the right to be recognized as a student group. However, I can't believe that there are no other cases alongside this one. Does this school not have a Muslim Student Association (or legal society or whatever). Or a gay group? I mean I know this is California, but we have about 30 Christian groups on our campus, and I can't imagine the more conservative, evangelical groups would allow gays or non Christians to be full members. I also can't imagine our LGBT action would allow anti-gay evangelicals to join their group. 

  • ||

    As a UVa alum, I'm a tad disappointed that neither Young nor any of the Reason commenters have mentioned Rosenberger v. U. of Virginia -- which also dealt with viewpoint neutrality for student activity fees, and in which an overtly Christian student publication was the plaintiff.

    Full disclosure: During my years at UVa, I wrote for a publication that sometimes printed irreverent and potentially offensive satire about Christianity, but was never denied its Student Activity Fund subsidy -- without which few college publications in those pre-Web days would have been able to cover printing costs -- as a result. (Despite the argument of the SCOTUS dissenters in Rosenberger v. U.Va that a publication espousing an "atheist or secular" viewpoint would have also been ineligible for funding.)

  • mtb shoes||

    This kind of shoes are very especial and beautiful. I recommend it to you. Hope you like it!

  • ||

    As some have suggested above, this is how it works --

    Step 1: Rulings are made restricting liberties, which apply to any situation where government funding is involved.

    Step 2: Politicians make sure that every important aspect of society receives government funding.

    Step 3: "Freedoms" technically exist, but are rendered irrelevant by their exclusion from the public square.

  • ||

    -
    -
    ---------------------------RELIGION IS ORGANIZED CRIME
    -
    -
    --------------------------And our U S Government is funding it!
    -
    -

  • D.Brooks||

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  • surpa shoes||

    reedoms" technically exist, but are rendered irrelevant by their exclusion from the public square.

  • Hillary||

    What will be next? "Well, we know you have never played football before, but we can't cut you from the team because we have an all comers policy." It is really doing no good to make student organizations include everyone when they are meant to bring together people with similar views. I guess California's uni system doesn't have greek life because you don't get much more exclusive than that.

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